EDGE Guest Writer Spotlight: Single and Not Loving It? Why?
What Single Girls Give Up to Get Married
By Mia Walker
Frustrated with idle observations of women who bemoan their single status, I felt it was my wifely duty, to remind them how absolutely fabulous it is to live single.
I have only seriously dated one man, and that man is now my husband. I am not a dating expert. In addition to my inexperience playing the field, I’m also no expert on marriage. By all means I am still a newlywed, married under a year. Compound, my new role as wife with the fact that instead of following the first comes love then comes marriage model we opted for a remix. We gave birth to our beautiful baby boy five months before holy matrimony. Which means, my advice is from that very specific, and possibly narrow viewpoint.
My inability to be considered an expert is not limited to those disclosures. However, I can no longer ignore that there is a narrative missing from the saturated articles about ‘How to Get a Man to Put A Ring On It.” There is absolutely nothing you can do to make a man do anything he doesn’t want to do. So, in the meantime while you patiently wait for the one and the right time you could at least enjoy yourself.
The media does an expert job of informing us all the joys of living single that a man has to relinquish as a bachelor in order to make someone his wedded wife. Single men know there is no need to rush, but a lot to enjoy on the road towards marriage. On the other hand, women are promised that through marriage they will finally have-it-all. Don’t single women even wonder what getting married requires them to give up? This is not a put down of marriage, because with the right person, it is as amazing as you imagine. Its just that being a twenty-something and hearing the weariness in some of my counterparts about being single, or in a long-term relationship nowhere near marriage, compelled me to sit and be reflective about four aspects of my life I took for granted as a single girl.
I was raised in a close-knit manner. I was my brother and sisters keeper. I didn’t make a move without running it by my mother. Every holiday, rough patch and a series of uneventful moments have been enjoyed in my mother’s house. I thought the world of my man, but he was not my family. The amount of time that I remained perched in my mother’s home for no reason at all without conversation or purpose is immeasurable. The comfort I felt there even when I had my own place, allowed me to identify her home as my home. I was so excited to get married but as the date approached new feelings started to develop. All of a sudden I wasn’t just changing my last name, I was graduating from my maiden family. The beauty of marriage is that families blend and grow, but with a husband and kid(s) you can expect that you will experience a change. On my wedding night, I stayed at my mother’s house and I found myself wishing that there were more family vacations, dinners shared at the table, movie nights, shopping trips and bonding.
I have a best friend who I enjoyed regularly scheduled after church brunch with. She would use that time to ceremoniously deduce the quality of my week by the care of my manicure. If my nails looked great she knew I had a week somewhere on the acceptable to amazing scale. But, if they were unpolished (I’m talking not even a clear coat) or worse yet chipped!? She knew I was going through it. The trip to the nail salon or to the drugstore to splurge on adding an Essie or OPI color to the collection was my thing. A simple and relaxing display of how much I cared about myself. I also enjoyed spa reservations and intermittent commitments to my fitness with gym and yoga visits. But not nearly enough time, considering that I was the only person I had to take care of, was spent on selfishly doing just that. Now, my priorities list is a lot longer because my domestic blessings are also huge responsibilities. When I find myself on the list its with a last minute urgency that tends to overwhelm and shame me (like, shave your legs quick so you can stop wearing pants in 90 plus degree weather). But I am sure I can’t convince a woman who is single and fabulous that one day she will forget to maintain and curate her beauty. Instead I will encourage you to continue being the only one or at least number one on your to do list and take such good care of yourself that your ego cup runneth over!
Circle of Sisterhood
I won’t even attempt to articulate the shift in your friendships that occurs once you are married. People will argue that nothing has to change while I can testify, that if you are doing your marriage justice, your friendship activities will change. Neither stance contradicts the fact that if you aren’t dating (or married) your girlfriends should take up a lot of your time. The time you spend travelling, partying, eating, praying and growing with your girls will set the foundation for a sisterhood that will be crucial later in life. I am so thankful for investing time to cultivate strong bonds with my girls that can stand the test of time (and marriage). There is rejuvenating power in being able to break away from work and your love life and bond over drinks, over food, on vacation, on the phone, whenever and however as long as it is with the best of friends.
What I yearned for in my single girl days in NYC was to be surrounded by love constantly. I didn’t want to be alone. Sure enough, solitude is no longer an inherent part of my life but something I have to request and schedule. I didn’t just experience living in an apartment alone as a single woman. I went to museums, dined, saw movies and took walks alone. I read books in the quiet of my apartment. I wasted hours in the stillness of having no plans and enjoyed every minute of it. Ladies, if you have never experienced the joy of alone time, you have some maturing to do! If you book every minute of your life, you are doing too much. Having mastered solitude in my single years allowed me to have the wisdom to know when I need to retreat briefly in it as a wife.
In no way am I suggesting that because I am married I no longer have a positive relationship with my family and friends, or that I don’t have anytime to or for myself. I am suggesting that the effortlessness I was able to do those things as a single woman, now as a married woman no longer exists. Life can be absolutely fabulous for any woman, whether she is single or married as long as she understands the potential. There is a lot of enjoyment in marriage but there is a lot that I enjoyed about being independent. So if you are single, you should recognize the aspects of your life that you enjoy and indulge!